Supporting Students with Autism in the General Education Classroom: Work Systems

By creating a work system in the general education classroom, students can have a systematic and organized presentation of their tasks and materials to provide opportunities to practice mastered skills, concepts, or activities.  


  • Work systems in the classroom will help students by:
  • Focusing on the important details
  • Maintaining attention to tasks
  • Reduce their anxiety by providing predictability
  • Generalizing skills to new settings
  • Promote independence


When creating a work system, we want to consider the following:

  • Create a clearly defined work area 
  • Explicitly teach your student how to use a work system
  • Make sure the work system works left to right
  • Removal of extra materials and other distractions
  • Have the work system set up with the needed materials before the student arrives at that area
  • Easily accessible for staff and students
  • Finished box/area in place
  • Cue to present the student with for the next activity 
  • Consider the following four questions:
  1. What work? (Identifies the form or the type of cue that labels each task, basket, or folder)
  2. How much work? (Identifies the organization and sequence of the tasks)
  3. When is the work finished? (Tracks progress and identifies when the work is finished)
  4. What’s next? (Identifies the transition to the next activity)


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